The Lexington Chapter meets and organizes a variety of events in Bluegrass region of central Kentucky. For more information about this chapter, please contact our President, Beate Popkin.
Members and friends who have questions about gardening with native plants in central Kentucky can ask us for advice via e-mail. A Wild Ones member will respond to you and address your issue.
For regular meetings, St. Michael's Episcopal Church is located at 2025 Bellefonte Drive, Lexington. Visitors are welcome.
Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at various locations TBA.
Purple phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) deserves a place in every native garden and in the heart of every native gardener. Abundant in the woods of the Kentucky River palisades, it is as local a plant as we can hope to find. It is stunningly beautiful, and it is easy to grow. It is a biannual that emerges from seeds in mid-spring just when last year’s seedlings have reached maturity and begin to flower. During the summer the seedlings form pretty rosettes of deeply indented leaves which can remain green throughout the winter. By the beginning of May a 12-inch tall globe of many small and delicate light purple blossoms has risen above the leaves, and where competition isn’t too severe, phacelia can easily carpet the floor of a woodland garden. The plants waste no time producing new seeds; indeed, the first ripen even as the last florets are still blooming. Meanwhile, the seeds from the previous year have germinated to begin the cycle all over again.
Purple phacelia is a plant of deciduous woods and its frequent occurrence on our river palisades would indicate that it likes limestone soils. But in my garden it grows under pines and hemlocks where it is dark all year and the soil is more acidic. Seeds that have ventured out into full sun have established themselves to form lush rosettes ready to bloom. In other words, phacelia is nothing if not adaptable. The one condition it may balk at is too much moisture.
Admittedly, purple phacelia can be too much of a good thing. While most of the thousands of seedlings that emerge will eventually crowd each other out, many move into the space of other garden plants and become a weed. A weed, of course, is just a plant viewed by humans as growing in the wrong place. The bees and bumblebees that seek out phacelias for nectar see it quite differently. Still, to be enjoyed in a garden, phacelia requires some control. The easiest way to achieve this is to pull up most flowering plants before the seeds have fully ripened and the plant is about to die. Also, with their shallow annual root systems, the survivors of the intra-species competition are readily weeded out before they bloom, whenever they are found in an unsuitable spot. Purple phacelia gives easy access to gardening joy.
-- Beate Popkin, President
All new members and those renewing at the "wilder" or "wildest" level will receive a free DVD of the updated how-to film Wild About Wildflowers.
Contact Linda Porter for more information about Membership.
We have included sources that carry non-native plants as well as natives. We want to support our local businesses, and encourage their promotion of native plants.
These are some places you can visit in and around Central Kentucky to see native habitat and vegetation. Some are only open by appointment. Others have scheduled guided tours.
List of Favorite Native Plants for the Central Kentucky area, compiled by the Lexington Wild Ones Chapter.
Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy
Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines by William Cullina
Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky by Mary E Wharton, Roger W Barbour
Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky by Thomas G. Barnes and S. Wilson Francis
Gardening for the Birds by Thomas G. Barnes
How to Find and Photograph Kentucky Wildflowers by Thomas Barnes - Book Review
Growing and Propagating Wildflowers By Harry Phillips
Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians by Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart
Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East by Carolyn Summers - Book Review
President: Beate Popkin
Secretary: Caroline Johnson
Treasurer: Tee Bergman
Members and friends of our club who have questions about gardening with native plants in central Kentucky can ask us for advice via e-mail. A Wild Ones member will respond to you and address your issue.
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Updated: May 21, 2013.